No matter where you have been, evidence-based therapies are flexible, valuable, and focus on changing now.
I provide couples/family/relational therapy for adolescents and adults both in the context of their relationships as well as through relationship-focused therapy for individuals who want to improve their interpersonal lives. Our relationships impact our thoughts, our feelings, and our behaviors. Relationships can be supportive, or they can weigh us down. How our relationships impact us can be obvious to us and everyone around us, or they can be insidious and live in the pit of our stomachs-- creeping up on us as feelings we can’t put the right words to. ...and anywhere in between… It can be difficult to understand and connect how these feelings slowly change what we do and who we are. ‘Relational’ therapy with more than one client aims to help improve interactions with each other, achieve relational goals, and cultivate value and meaning together... I believe in using relationship therapy that works. I practice evidence-based therapy, which means I use therapeutic practices that have been studied and supported by empirical research studies.
How do we know if my partner(s) and I need couples' counseling or couples' sex therapy?Couples’ counseling and couples’ sex therapy can be helpful for couples wishing to get support through a difficult time. Couples often experience sticking points or relational distress and can benefit from professional help coming back together or attempting to part gracefully. It can be beneficial for couples who want to learn more about each other, communicate better, and build a secure functioning partnership.
Starting the process of couples’ counseling or marriage counseling sooner rather than later, when there has been significant conflict, betrayal, or abuse, can help stave off additional hurt and help you move faster toward repairing your relationship.
Relationship therapy can also help you to break up amicably and provide divorce support and structure for exploring life and co-parenting after separation.
No one deserves to experience abusive or toxic relationships. Learning to identify and work through toxic and abusive relationship dynamics, whether with family, romantic partners, colleagues, or friend is essential to overall well-being. You can choose to stay or leave. Setting and maintaining healthy boundaries or developing a plan for a safe exit, can help you healing any wounds blocking you from an empowered life.
Is it too late to try relationship therapy?Due to the stigma around couples therapy and the myth that only couples on the brink of breaking up go to couples therapy, it’s not uncommon for couples to start couples work when they are already at their wit’s end. If you’re at this point, it's likely that there has been some impact on the relationship -- some things can't be unsaid-- however, that certainly doesn’t mean that all hope is lost.
For many couples, the sensitive nature of couples therapy creates the intimacy required to get the relationship back on track. This can include working on improving communication, increasing intimacy, discussing mismatched libidos, addressing dishonesty, affairs or other barriers that prevent a couple from feeling fully safe in the relationship.
As long as everyone in the relationship is willing to come to session with an open mind and heart, couples therapy can help. It’s never too late to start. Depending on the depth of the dissatisfaction, unhappiness or resentment, for some couples the time in therapy is spent on reaching a decision about staying together or ending the relationship.
When parents separate or divorce, one of the most important decisions they will make is how to divide parenting responsibilities and to support their children. We can also begin this work together. I have experience with custody evaluations and co-parenting therapy.
Relational Services can focus on:
- COMMUNICATION -- Frequent arguments, the same dance, blame for past hurts, communication difficulties
- TRUST -- Difficulty in trusting one another, recovering from betrayal/infidelity
- INTIMACY -- Fear of emotional and physical intimacy, vulnerability
- CONNECTION -- Lack of connection, aloneness in the relationship, struggle finding ways to connect
- SEXUALITY -- Loss of libido, different levels of sexual desire, sexual dissatisfaction, mindful sex
- PASSION -- Lack of passion for one another, loss of sparks, feeling like roommates with one another
- FAMILY -- Disagreements in parenting, finances, and family relationship
- PARENTING -- Expecting a baby, transition to parenthood, co-parenting, blended families
- FAMILY OF ORIGIN -- Unresolved childhood issues impacting the relationship, current family of origin issues, coming out
- OPENNESS -- Explore sexuality and new relationship structures, find transcendental experiences, novelty
I'm curious about Ethical Non-Monogamy...
There are many choices available to couples. Ethical non-monogamy (ENM) is a set of values that couples can choose to have in their relationships. If you are interested in this kind of relating, many questions and choices are important for your identity and journey. Ideally, these decisions and how you explore your relationships come from a place of agreement, trust, conflict resolution, boundary (not rule) exploration, and compersion. In therapy, we can help get you there, and we can also repair and promote collaborative, and healing communication.
Through sex-positive therapy, you can have healthy conversations about curiosities, excitement, compersion, and novel peek experiences.
Digital Relationships and Ghosting...In dating, ghosting is when someone ends all contact without explanation — profile unmatched, messages unanswered, calls avoided. It can happen to anyone at any time, no matter how much investment you’ve placed in a potential partner. Are we always looking for someone just a little better than the person we’re chatting with? It takes courage to admit when we are wrong or we’ve knowingly hurt someone. Once you become self-protective at the expense of other people’s feelings it could be hard to stop. Or maybe you just don’t believe it’s possible for relationships to grow and change, or for attraction to deepen as time goes by. Maybe ghosting is better than a handful of empty apologies. The social cues present in traditional breakups are disorientingly absent when you are ghosted or broken up with via text-- you question yourself. You can’t work through what went wrong. Like reactions to traumatic experiences, it can be too easy to draw troubling conclusions that affect your wellbeing; how you think about yourself, others, and the world; and how you approach your next relationship.
What is Betrayal Trauma?Betrayal trauma is a type of trauma that can occur if there is a significant breach of trust in a relationship. Betrayal trauma theory, introduced by psychologist, Jennifer Freyd, suggests that when betrayal occurs within a key relationship, it has the ability to cause long-term symptoms of trauma.
Betrayal trauma can stem from any situation that upends the trust and expectations of a relationship. Some examples include:
- Emotional or sexual infidelity
- Discovering lies or duplicity
- Financial deception or exploitation
- Physical, emotional or sexual abuse
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Sex therapy can happen as an individual or as a couple. You’re not required to go with your partner or spouse, but by going as a couple, your intimate connection and clarity about your relationship can increase.
Sex therapy is a form of counseling intended to help individuals and couples resolve sexual difficulties, such as performance anxiety or relationship problems. I support couples in restoring trust, rebuilding intimacy, and reigniting healthy, passionate sex. Some choose to attend sessions alone; others bring their partner with them. Session frequency and length usually depend on the client and the type of problem being addressed.
Sexual health is an essential part of overall emotional and physical well-being. But if you’re experiencing a sexual problem, the last thing you probably want to do is talk about it. However, you aren't alone! 43 percent of women and 31 percent of men report some degree of sexual dysfunction.
Sex therapy is a type of psychotherapy that also takes into account possible physical problems. For this reason (among others), sex therapy requires special training. When a couple comes in with a sexual problem, we try to figure out how each of them could be contributing to the issue. We examine what is going on, gradually interpret this in the context of their sexual history/experiences, tease apart cultural/societal influences, and come up with solutions.
Sex therapy utilizes a variety of approaches to treat sexual dysfunction. In addition to the techniques outlined by Masters and Johnson, sex therapy includes cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), emotion-based therapy, and couples communication techniques. It’s important to know that sex therapy sessions do not involve any physical contact or sexual activity. I usually assign “homework”—practical activities that clients are expected to complete in the privacy of their own home.
Sex therapy encapsulates everything that goes on in the mind, body and thoughts around sex. Sex therapy can help you with:
- Healing from sexual trauma
- Low libido or no interest in sex
- Difficulty reaching orgasm
- Re-defining what healthy sexuality means to you
- Sex addiction, porn addiction or other addictive challenge affecting your sex life
- Sexual dysfunctions (ED, vaginismus and more)
- Sexual shame, guilt or repression
- Understanding your sexual orientation
- Sex during pregnancy and after childbirth
- Sex during perimenopause and menopause
- Sexual confidence
- Kink, BDSM, and fetishes
- LGBTQ+ affirming therapy
- Erectile dysfunction + early (premature) ejaculation
- Painful intercourse or other pain during sex
- Polyamory or Ethical non-monogamy
- Concerns about arousal or mismatched libidos
- Sexual desire & improving sexual satisfaction
- Improving communication about sex
- Differences in sexual preferences
Trauma-focused Couples TherapyThere are evidence-based couples therapies that navigate interpersonal relationships struggling with trauma (and depression) experienced by one or both partners. I have specific expertise in treating relationship distress related to the impacts of sexual assault, intimate partner violence, discrimination, and combat trauma.
Research suggests that greater satisfaction in your romantic relationship is significantly associated with greater general life satisfaction and even positive physical health outcomes. Distressing relationships are associated with a range of physical, emotional, and psychological problems. Relational therapy can serve as a preventative approach to build resiliency, strength, joy, and commitment for lifelong success.
Relationship therapy is a unique opportunity to invest in the health of your relationship as well as your own well-being. Many therapists will state that they provide relationship counseling but often have never had specific training in couples therapy. Couples therapy is very different from individual therapy, even though it can appear to use the same concepts and skills. Choosing a therapist with specific couples/relational training is important. I am very selective about the couples I work with-- focusing on fit and expertise. I take your time and effort very seriously, and I expect each Client I work with to likewise make the same commitment to our sessions.